Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative - Where Do We Go From Here?
Along with the rest of the world, the best laid plans for moving forward with the work of the Read Muskegon Literacy Collaborative (RMLC) were suddenly put on hold in March as a response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
Our work may have taken a brief pause, but during that time, the initial literacy crisis that brought us together was growing.
According to several studies, the shutdown of our schools could not only cause disproportionate learning losses for low-income students—compounding existing gaps—but also lead more of them to drop out. This could have lasting effects on their long-term economic well-being and on the US economy as a whole.
As employers laid off workers or eliminated jobs in response to the pandemic, low literacy adults who had been able to find employment not only lost their jobs but have little hope of being rehired in a newly competitive job market. With recent studies indicating over 23,000 adults in Muskegon County read at the lowest level (below 4th grade), we have work to do to ensure they have access to programs that will increase their employability and their quality of life.
The Literacy Collaborative Steering Committee has met several times over the past few months to discuss how we reframe our priorities in light of where we find ourselves today. With guidance from the National Center for Families Learning, we have identified 3 key focus areas and are forming RMLC work groups to address each.
1) PK-12 Education: Knowing that our schools will be faced with an enormous task mitigating learning loss within uncertain operating conditions, how can we mobilize as a community to provide support specific to reading instruction? How do we help ensure all families are equipped at home to help their children thrive as readers?
2) Economic Opportunity/Workforce Development: Focused coordination of adult learning opportunities that include better access to services for those with basic literacy needs, creating clear pathways to employment. Includes areas such as financial and technology related literacy skills.
3) Neighborhoods & Infrastructure: Working with community members to co-design solutions to addressing literacy issues and barriers in their neighborhoods. Building partnerships with existing networks of community-based leaders, neighborhood associations, churches and others to create literacy navigators that help bridge the gap between needs and services.
If you are interested in participating in one of these work groups, please click the link below and fill out the Google form. We will be in touch shortly to coordinate initial meetings of the work groups.
Work Group Sign Up Form
Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring that everyone in Muskegon County, no matter their age, as the opportunity to learn to read to the very best of their ability.
Executive Director, Read Muskegon